Photographer and illustrator Jenna Greenwood transformed a once-dreary Victorian terrace into the home of her childhood dreams, full of off-beat inspiration. She lives with partner Gary, a Jack Russel-Chihuahua called Crumpet, and Gloria – the mannequin that watches neighbours from the window.
Jenna Greenwood is a photographer and illustrator, and self-proclaimed “maker, renovator and dog-botherer”. Her signature colour palette of lurid rainbow tones theme her wardrobe choices, art and home. Her partner, Gary Parkinson, prefers cleaner designs and a minimal approach. The result of this aesthetic misfortune? Their playful home in Saltaire, Yorkshire, where original Victorian features mingle with vibrant wallpapers, toy collections, and spray-painted furniture.
It was curiosity, boredom and a price-reduction that led them to the building first. “I’d seen the house for sale and noticed that £60,000 had been knocked off the price. I only viewed it to cheer myself up and give me something to do’, Jenna bellows, in her broad Yorkshire accent. “I never expected to buy it”.
Despite its popular location with families and young professionals, the house had remained unloved for some time, having done its duty as a family home before being left empty when its owner moved into shared accommodation. “All its original features had been ripped out, but it was a blank canvas we could work with.”
I like to think of our home as a creative hub
You’re struck by how colourful the house is. Instead of the traditionally dark fixtures and furnishings, there is room after room of a different bright colour theme, tied together with one bottom line: fun. “We modernised the house and definitely brought our own personalities into the interiors, but also put the old into the new. We wanted to be sympathetic to the era of the house,” says Jenna, who as a photographer, worked as a set stylist.
We modernised the house and definitely brought our own personalities into the interiors, but also put the old into the new. We wanted to be sympathetic to the era of the house
Drawing on her creative talents, Jenna has created rooms with picture-perfect home styling from every angle. “I like to think of our home as a creative hub,” she says. “Gary likes to have friends around. I like to have plenty of space to work that doesn’t interfere with where we live. Our home allows and inspires both”.
Jenna may be a photographer but says her home is far from a show-home. “We’re really busy. Gary works long shifts, I am employed and pursue creative interests. Juggling those, keeping the place spic-and-span, and having a social life is difficult virtually impossible.”
On the way out, through the kitchen, Jenna points out more collectables rammed on the shelves. I have to wonder if there had been decorative fallouts in the last two years of their renovation. “Not really,” Jenna whispers. “There’s so much on the shelves now that he doesn’t notice when something new is put there. Either that, or he knows it’s an argument he’s likely to lose!”
The owners: Photographer and illustrator Jenna Greenwood and her partner Gary Parkinson.
The property: A four-storey Victorian townhouse in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saltaire. There’s an open-plan kitchen and dining area, living room, two bedrooms, bathroom, studio space, dressing room, and cellar. The home also has small yards to the front and rear.
“I wanted an authentic, mid-century theme,” says Jenna. “Everything but the sofa is reclaimed second hand. It’s easy to source when you know what you want – it can become obsessive – but it’s worth it.”
Get the look: A feature wall and inside alcoves are covered with jungle foliage wallpaper in hues with bright accents, available from 70swallpaper.com. Sofas are from Sofas and Stuff, Red Brick Mill.
It started with the idea to have a ‘hall of mirrors’, and grew from there
The friendly pastel-blue front door gives its visitors a false sense of twee. Behind, we find garish yellow paint, separated from thick, vertical black and white stripes by a dado rail. “It started with the idea to have a ‘hall of mirrors’, and grew from there,” Jenna laughs.
Get the look: The hall and stairway is painted with a bright yellow emulsion. Jenna customised different style picture frames in contrasting colours, and used circus postcards collected from day trips within.
With her eye for a theme and diverse colour combinations, Jenna has created a visual memorial to the couple’s travels.
Get the look: The fitted kitchen is from Arnold Laver. Artefacts sourced from worldwide flea markets. For a similar look, try All American Vintage.
Detail: Picture-perfect scenes have been created from every angle by customising high-street finds.
Get the look: These kitchen stools were original from IKEA but found on Gumtree.com, then spray-painted to contrast the kitchen colourway.
“We used three different styles of tile, all from different outlets,” says Jenna. “It was the hardest room to renovate – getting so many tradesmen to understand our vision – we called it ‘art-deco asylum’ in the end. We think that worked.”
Get the look: Bathroom suite is from Victorian Plumbing. Apothecary accessories are from TK Maxx.
Studio and activity room
In the converted attic, this snug workspace is the place Jenna uses to create art and photography.
Get the look: Basic shelving units are spray painted in a standard palette of colours used throughout the room. Kitsch home accessories can be found in Tiger and Oklahoma Store.
Your favourite place to walk Crumpet?
Roberts Park, Saltaire. There’s always something new to look at in the vintage shop windows on the way.
The Magic Life-Changing Art of Tidying. I have a tendency to hoard and buy junk. The book cured it.
What’s in your fridge?
Pre-mixed pina colada! Gary likes to have friends around, especially after a football game. I don’t drink much, but when I do, I like it to be totally tropical!
Your last holiday?
We went to Berlin, and I visited an abandoned theme park. There was a giant dinosaur on its side, and the big wheel was turning in the breeze! Very eerie, but definitely the highlight of the trip.
This article was written in April 2017. My target media style was Living, ETC.